What do you want to be when you grow up?

We’ve all been asked this question before: “What do you want to be when you grow up”? In fact, we are asked it almost from the moment we can speak. Me? I want to be a broadcaster. But that hasn’t always been my dream.

From a young age I wanted to be an actress. I loved being involved in musicals and I thought I would be quite content under the stage lights for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, reality came in the form of a dream-crushing careers advisor who didn’t look too favourably upon my 15-year-old teenage plans.

“Ok – well that’s not really going to happen,” she said.

“What else are you interested in?”

It was in that moment that I realised perhaps I couldn’t do ‘anything I wanted’. My parents, grandparents and significant inspirational others must have been wrong after all.

“Architecture – maybe something to do with design,” I replied.

So began my journey to find something worth putting my time and effort into, something that would create meaning not only for myself but for other people too.

After going off on a complete tangent and almost pursuing a career path in the field of design, or even engineering, I happened to stumble across journalism. It wasn’t something I’d thought of doing before. For some strange reason I used to have the mindset that presenting the news was only something that very special people did. However, I did my research and found that low and behold, it actually was possible to study journalism and do ‘real journalism stuff’.

So here I am, four years on from my teenage dream-crushing experience, studying a journalism and business degree (economics). In the past couple of years I have gained insight and experience that has shaped my dreams and aspirations. I love watching reporters on television. I’m intrigued by the personality behind the voice of a radio host. I’m an absolute sucker for political drama and can sit fixated to a television screen watching it unfold for hours. My experiences travelling to countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore and Malaysia has given me insight into hugely different cultures that are only a short plane trip away.

I want to incorporate my interests in economics, politics and foreign affairs to create meaning that transcends beyond myself and broadcast this to the world.

Thankfully, I have some strengths under my belt to help me get on my way. I enjoy speaking and am quite a confident speaker. I also love writing, which is a definite plus seeming as though it’s a fundamental part of journalism.

Weaknesses? Well, if we were all perfect then we wouldn’t be at university soaking up the juices from lecturers and tutors who have gone before us. Having just started a subject in radio and television, I am now becoming aware of the countless hours I will need to spend practicing my ‘broadcast voice’, which, might I add, has a lot more to it than just the voice part.

A few particularly wise words have stuck with me since I started my degree a year and a half ago. “Experience is more valuable than your GPA”. Mid this year I decided that if I I was going to get work experience then I would have to be open-minded. I like to remind myself that it is called work experience for a reason; it’s not meant to be my dream job, I’m still learning! I have recently started work experience at a state MP’s office, which is great because of my interest in politics. It’s very important to understand all aspects of the professional environment I will be involved in, not just the TV or radio studio. As I progress through my degree, I am looking forward to future work experience opportunities that I will be able to delve into as I complete more subjects.

My biggest threat to never seeing my dream realised is fear. In any creative field it’s easy to be afraid of taking opportunities because the people associated with the opportunity are often ‘professionals’ and nobody wants to embarrass themselves in front of a potential future employer. However, we all know that being held back by fear won’t get you very far in a competitive and fast-paced environment. So I’m going to grab each opportunity with both hands and delve straight into the thick of it.

No, it won’t be easy but it’s a challenge I’m willing to accept. Now I laugh at the dream-crushing careers advisor because I’ve just made a full circle back to 15-year-old me. It’s time to defy the odds and take on the future.

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